Volume 10 Issue 10, October 2014

Volume 10 Issue 10

Nonlinear inertial flows usually influence the motion of swimming organisms, but most studies focus on the tractable case of swimmers too small to feel such effects. A mechanistic principle now unifies the varied dynamics of macroscopic swimmers.Letter p758; News & Views p711 IMAGE: MATTIA GAZZOLA COVER DESIGN: ALLEN BEATTIE


  • Editorial |

    Increases in governmental funding for research are outmatched by the swelling ranks of scientists competing for grants. Physicists are starting to look for creative alternatives to complement their funding.


  • Commentary |

    University culture stands at a critical crossroads: the era of team science is upon us functionally, but not yet structurally. Solutions to the problems this mismatch creates involve rethinking education — and giving credit where credit is due.

    • Ioannis Pavlidis
    • , Alexander M. Petersen
    •  & Ioanna Semendeferi


Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    A superconducting surface under a drop of ionic liquid, when divided into two banks by a strip of insulating material having a single quantum point contact, becomes a device for discovering quantum phenomena.

    • Isao H. Inoue
  • News & Views |

    Hybrid systems offer attractive possibilities for quantum information processing. Experiments show how off-resonant coupling to a microwave resonator can prolong the storage of photons inside a large collection of precessing spins.

    • Klaus Mølmer
  • News & Views |

    Accessing orbital exchange between highly symmetric many-component spins may hold the key to a number of exotic, strongly correlated quantum phenomena, but probing such exchange is far from easy. An experiment with ultracold gases takes on the task.

    • Alexey V. Gorshkov
  • News & Views |

    The electronic coupling between two stacked atomic layers is usually weak if their periodicities are incommensurate. Optical absorption experiments have now revealed unexpectedly strong interlayer coupling in incommensurate double-walled carbon nanotubes.

    • João Lopes dos Santos
  • News & Views |

    The myriad creatures that inhabit the waters of our planet all swim using different mechanisms. Now, a simple relation links key physical observables of underwater locomotion, on scales ranging from millimetres to tens of metres.

    • Johannes Baumgart
    •  & Benjamin M. Friedrich
  • News & Views |

    Many networks interact with one another by forming multilayer networks, but these structures can lead to large cascading failures. The secret that guarantees the robustness of multilayer networks seems to be in their correlations.

    • Ginestra Bianconi


  • Letter |

    Repeatedly probing a quantum system restricts its evolution, providing a route for state engineering. Such confinement, described by quantum Zeno dynamics, has now been implemented to generate superposition states in a multi-level Rydberg atom.

    • Adrien Signoles
    • , Adrien Facon
    • , Dorian Grosso
    • , Igor Dotsenko
    • , Serge Haroche
    • , Jean-Michel Raimond
    • , Michel Brune
    •  & Sébastien Gleyzes
  • Letter |

    Hybridized systems offer a promising route for developing quantum devices, but inhomogeneous broadening limits the practical use of large spin ensembles. Suppression of the decoherence induced by such broadening has now been demonstrated for a superconducting cavity coupled to an ensemble of nitrogen–vacancy centres in diamond.

    • S. Putz
    • , D. O. Krimer
    • , R. Amsüss
    • , A. Valookaran
    • , T. Nöbauer
    • , J. Schmiedmayer
    • , S. Rotter
    •  & J. Majer
  • Letter |

    The interaction of a quantum system with its surroundings is usually detrimental, introducing decoherence. Experiments now show how such interactions can be harnessed to provide all-optical control of the spin state of a quantum dot.

    • Jack Hansom
    • , Carsten H. H. Schulte
    • , Claire Le Gall
    • , Clemens Matthiesen
    • , Edmund Clarke
    • , Maxime Hugues
    • , Jacob M. Taylor
    •  & Mete Atatüre
  • Letter |

    Quantized resistivity values for 2D electron systems don’t necessarily result from an external magnetic field as in the ‘normal’ quantum Hall effect; they can arise due to a material's intrinsic ferromagnetism too—the quantum anomalous Hall effect. Experiments with a ferromagnetic topological insulator now establish how the anomalous states can be mapped onto the normal states.

    • J. G. Checkelsky
    • , R. Yoshimi
    • , A. Tsukazaki
    • , K. S. Takahashi
    • , Y. Kozuka
    • , J. Falson
    • , M. Kawasaki
    •  & Y. Tokura
  • Letter |

    Two concentric carbon nanotubes don’t need to have a common finite unit cell. Absorption spectra of such incommensurate double-walled carbon nanotubes reveal strong hybridization of the electron wavefunctions — unusual for van der Waals-coupled structures. The observations can be rationalized by zone folding the electronic structure of twisted-and-stretched graphene bilayers.

    • Kaihui Liu
    • , Chenhao Jin
    • , Xiaoping Hong
    • , Jihoon Kim
    • , Alex Zettl
    • , Enge Wang
    •  & Feng Wang
  • Letter |

    Electrons in graphene have a pseudospin, but controlling this degree of freedom is challenging. Evidence now suggests that the moiré superlattices arising in two-dimensional heterostructures can be used to electrically manipulate pseudospins.

    • Zhiwen Shi
    • , Chenhao Jin
    • , Wei Yang
    • , Long Ju
    • , Jason Horng
    • , Xiaobo Lu
    • , Hans A. Bechtel
    • , Michael C. Martin
    • , Deyi Fu
    • , Junqiao Wu
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , Takashi Taniguchi
    • , Yuanbo Zhang
    • , Xuedong Bai
    • , Enge Wang
    • , Guangyu Zhang
    •  & Feng Wang
  • Letter |

    Electron energy-loss spectroscopy uses inelastically scattered electrons to provide information about a material’s chemical composition. It is now shown that localized plasmonic excitations can lead to nonlinear scattering, significantly enhancing the signals arising from inelastic electrons.

    • Chun Kai Xu
    • , Wen Jie Liu
    • , Pan Ke Zhang
    • , Meng Li
    • , Han Jun Zhang
    • , Ke Zun Xu
    • , Yi Luo
    •  & Xiang Jun Chen
  • Letter |

    Nonlinear inertial flows usually influence the motion of swimming organisms, but most studies focus on the tractable case of swimmers too small to feel such effects. A mechanistic principle now unifies the varied dynamics of macroscopic swimmers.

    • Mattia Gazzola
    • , Médéric Argentina
    •  & L. Mahadevan
  • Letter |

    Connecting complex networks is known to exacerbate perturbations and lead to cascading failures, but natural networks of networks are surprisingly stable. A theory now proposes that network structure holds the key to understanding this paradox.

    • Saulo D. S. Reis
    • , Yanqing Hu
    • , Andrés Babino
    • , José S. Andrade Jr
    • , Santiago Canals
    • , Mariano Sigman
    •  & Hernán A. Makse